Tag: supplier relations

Market Research

A Cooperative Future: Emerging Market Initiative & Supplier Relations

NASPOValuePoint is shaking up the cooperative world by introducing their new Emerging Market Initiative. What does this mean for the cooperative contracting process? We interviewed Bart Lemmon, Director of Supplier Development and Global Initiatives at NASPO ValuePoint.
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Protests

To Protest a Bid, or not to Protest?

While not a Shakespearean existential inquiry, a vendor who did not win a competitive bid for a public contract may be faced with a critical question: “Should I file a bid protest to challenge this award decision, or not?”

Bidders who have standing want to exercise their right to protest to correct alleged improprieties. Sometimes vendors file what some would call “frivolous,” or “sore loser” protests, after the fact, when some of the questions could have been addressed before a decision was made to award the contract. Read more “To Protest a Bid, or not to Protest?”

Market Research

Another Resource for your Procurement Toolbox: PTAC

 Like most problem-solvers, procurement professionals have a metaphorical toolbox that they reach into from time to time to assist in acquiring best value. In this article, we discuss one of the tools in the public procurement toolbox, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). In case you haven’t utilized this tool before, let’s get you familiar with it! A guiding principle of public procurement is the maximization of competition. PTACs help to increase bid participation by working one-on-one with small businesses and assist them in competing for government contracts.

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Professional Development

Relations Matter!

Agency relations and customer service is NASPO’s top priority for 2019. What an exciting topic to tackle as it is the first time it appears on NASPO’s Top 10 in the last two years! Current NASPO President Lisa Eason is a big supporter of highlighting agency relations initiatives across the country.
Improving relationships with state agencies not only increases the efficiency of procurements in the state but also makes the process and experience for both agency staff and procurement staff less tedious. However, many states have yet to implement extensive programs and initiatives due to the different puzzle pieces that need to come together to make the change effective. Improving agency relations and customer service is a complex task that requires both employees and management to change mind-sets and behaviors. At times, it requires organizations to restructure their operations to function in a customer-centric mindset rather than working in the traditional silos.

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Procurement Methodologies

5 Things You Should Know About Reverse Auctions

Are reverse auctions a win-win for both parties? The answer depends on who you ask, and as always, “the proof is in the pudding”. If done right, they can be a win-win for both buyers and suppliers. The online reverse auction is a cost-effective way in which a single buyer procures goods or services from multiple bidders using an online bidding platform. In this article, we will share a few tips to help demystify reverse auctions and maximize mutual benefits for both parties.

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Contract Administration & Management

Through the Vendor’s Eyes: Procurement and Contract Management

NASPO recently held the REACH (Regional Education and Connection Hub) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. 270 state members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia came together to participate in the first “super regional” conference in NASPO’s history, bringing together the Southern, Eastern, Midwestern, and Western Regions. The event was filled with educational and professional growth opportunities that expanded NASPO members’ support network into all four regions. In this series of blogs, NASPO staff will share key takeaways and highlights from REACH’s expansive programs agenda. 
“How many people have experienced frustration with a vendor?” Valerie Bollinger, State Purchasing Manager for the State of Idaho asked participants at a recent NASPO REACH conference. The room quickly filled with laughter as many state procurement professionals attending the breakout session titled Procurement and Contract Management Through the Vendor’s Eyes realized they can relate. Public procurement professionals and vendors alike are occasionally frustrated with each other and feel like it’s “them vs. us” when doing business together. The group exercise, led by Valerie, was an introspection and challenge to participants to put themselves in the vendor’s shoes and think through solutions that could inform better processes and relationships during the contract management phase, which is an important piece of the complex state procurement process.

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Ethics & Value of Competition

Choosing the Best Path: Ethics and Accountability

Ethics and the professionalization of public procurement have been among NASPO’s Top 10 Priorities for elevating and advancing public procurement for several years. NASPO is excited to announce the release of a new research paper discussing best practices for applying ethics in public procurement.  NASPO’s Best Practices: Ethics and Accountability explores demonstrating accountability by choosing the best path; best practices in ethics programs; conflicts of interest and vendor relations; and adopting proactive transparency practices.  The paper also includes three case studies at the end of each section, which aim to delve more deeply into these interrelated topics and help illustrate the ethical dilemmas that state procurement officials may face.
The modern public procurement office is faced with ever-growing challenges in areas such as project management, performance, and employment. This paper helps to lay the groundwork for accountability through choosing the “best path,” performing due diligence in contract management, identifying conflicts of interest in vendor relations, and exploring the changing paradigm of transparency.  This NASPO paper was written as a collaborative effort of the Accountability, Transparency, and Conflict of Interest Work Group, led by Valerie Bollinger, Purchasing Manager, Division of Purchasing for the State of Idaho.
NASPO Events & Education

Negotiating for Value

NASPO recently held the REACH (Regional Education and Connection Hub) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. 270 state members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia came together to participate in the first “super regional” conference in NASPO’s history, bringing together the Southern, Eastern, Midwestern, and Western Regions. The event was filled with educational and professional growth opportunities that expanded NASPO members’ support network into all four regions. In this series of blogs, NASPO staff will share key takeaways and highlights from REACH’s expansive programs agenda. 
One conference. One session. Many lessons to be learned. Getting the best value out of contracts was a main learning objective during one of the REACH General Sessions. Developing a negotiations strategy to aid in accomplishing that goal was another one. Continue reading to find out what our members learned during this session, and how to become a more successful negotiator!

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NASPO Events & Education

The Problem Solvers

The basis of any good business partnership is the ability to understand problems and develop a joint strategy to find a solution. In other words, communication and teamwork are essential. These were the central themes throughout NASPO’s 2018 Exchange conference this year in the Big Apple, New York, New York! It was here that purchasers and suppliers assembled to learn, discuss, and contemplate their relationships. Networking flourished while old friends reunited and new professional bonds were forged. The conference served as a platform in which buyers and suppliers took stock of innovative projects they had worked on together as well as learn about the vast resources NASPO has to offer. Conference-goers had the opportunity to attend large general sessions that featured keynote speakers and interactive, state government panels.
During a general session cleverly titled “Problem Solvers,” a panel of NASPO state members and suppliers sat on stage together to identify characteristics of effective supplier relationship management programs and discuss the impact of positive, open communication on the ability to reach successful procurement outcomes. Audience members were able to text their questions to the facilitator, who then asked the speakers to discuss them on stage. It was an effective way to outline strategies that could alleviate conflict in the state-supplier relationship, as well as keep all parties focused on solving the issues at hand. Although each session began with a script, it quickly morphed into a flowing, organic conversation between purchaser and supplier.
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